In November last year I travelled with my wife Laura and our baby daughter Beth (9 months old at that time) to Japan for about a week. It was our first time traveling with Beth and before the trip commenced, I was wondering how the street photography would go with her around.
Travelling with Beth was fun but at times tiring. I felt the ‘tiring’ bit from day 2 onwards when we were running to the train station to catch a train while dragging our luggage behind us . . . I also had Beth strapped to my chest in a baby carrier. We got to the train platform just in time to see the train arrive on the opposite platform! Needless to say, we missed the train and had to settle for a much slower train and a longer journey after half an hour’s wait. On hindsight, my wife and I were just remarking how it was a really good thing we were not racing for a million dollars in The Amazing Race.
In the end, it was an interesting experience shooting with Beth mostly strapped to my chest (see photo above). It takes certain skills to shoot with a baby strapped to your chest, skills which I found out I was sorely lacking in. Many times when I spotted something I wanted to shoot, somehow Beth’s head would turn or move and bump against the camera just as I was going to trip the shutter! At times, I would suddenly find her head covering a large part of the viewfinder causing me to miss what I deemed to be the decisive moment. My wife said half in jest that I should create a series of ‘Headbutt shots’ translated as “missed opportunities due to disruption by baby” photos. The other difficulty was not being able to work the subjects for longer periods of time because more often than not, I had to keep on moving lest Beth got bored, fidgety and start screaming. Anyway, all was not totally lost and even though this trip featured the lowest number of photos I had ever taken on a trip, there were some keepers.
The following are a selection of street photographs from the trip. See if you can spot Beth.
I had an Olympus OMD which a friend loaned me for the trip but that stayed in my bag most of the time. Instead, I used a Fuji X10 for over 90% of the time because it was small, light, very versatile (fast zoom lens) and had good fast autofocus allowing me to easily shoot one-handed.